Johnny Millar has never been prone to exaggeration, but there are times when you have to take his utterances with a pinch of salt.

One of those moments was thrown up yesterday by the seasoned manager of St Cadoc's YC, one of four inductees without a Junior football background to the West of Scotland Football League along with Drumchapel United, Bonnyton Thistle and Glasgow University, declaring: "We are in a slightly better position now than when I took up the job."

The renowned former Beith gaffer was responding to being asked how the Newton Mearns-based club's preparations for the new setup at Conference B level were progressing and the more sceptical among us could be forgiven for thinking his words were an intentional understatement.

Hard to deem otherwise of the 53-year-old, whose calling time last January on a wonderfully successful second  stint at the Bellsdale helm rocked the Ayrshire Junior outfit to it’s very core even though he stated there were underlying personal reasons for him needing to take a break from football.

His self-imposed sabbatical was to last just three months as April saw the three-time Scottish Junior Cup winner agree to take the reins at St Cadoc's, whose growth from a primary school team founded in 1987 by janitor David Jones to the community sports club of today encompassing over 1000 players across various age groups had been nothing short of phenomenal.

Further growth plans saw club officials tender an application to join the inaugural WOSFL even though it was fraught with a backdrop of problems, not least of all St Cadoc's being devoid of a suitable home ground and playing squad however their audacious approach to get Millar on board has proven to be inspired in the extreme.

"I can say without any fear of contradiction that no other footballing job would have tempted me to make a return," revealed the Barrhead-based Millar.

“The initial contact was a telephone call out of the blue from Brendan Boyle at St Cadoc's asking me to meet with him to  hear what he had to say and I did so out of respect however I was instantly struck by his enthusiasm in the face of the many challenges stacking up for St Cadoc's and I wanted to be part of it.” 

His loyal allies of Stevie Convery, Derek Rhodden, Mark McLaughlin, goalkeeping guru John White and physiotherapist Willie Henderson did not hesitate in responding to a subsequent call to arms from Millar and they along with long serving St Cadoc's coach Barry Lemke have come together to form a backroom team whose array of footballing contacts has been put to good use in building a 19-strong playing squad up to now.

The strong ties with Beith have been particularly invaluable with ex-Mighty stalwarts John Sheridan, Stephen Grindlay, Kenny McLean, Jamie Wilson, Kevin Green and Joe Bradley linking up with their former manager while further transfer ventures have acquired the signatures of Kieron Woods (Kilbirnie Ladeside) as well as Aaron Miller (Clydebank), and from the senior ranks have come Elgin City defender Anthony McDonald and Stranraer striker Mark Stewart whom Falkirk fans will recall was once transferred to Bradford City for the princely sum of £250,000. 

Millar admitted: "Big Shez, Shay and Kenny are all at the veteran stage of their careers but I firmly believe they can still hack it at Conference level and it’s pleasing to have players of their quality and experience to call on.

"Probably the real feather in our cap is Jamie who it’s no secret to say was on his way during the close season to Darvel whose coach is former Beith team mate Kevin McDonald however things did not quite go as planned and we were able to persuade him to throw his hat in the ring with St Cadoc's.

"It’s a credit to the players that the bedding in of all the newcomers has been relatively straightforward and a further boost has come from our club officials shaking hands on a groundsharing arrangement with St Anthony's which will see us play our home games at McKenna Park.

“Having these issues ticked off our to-do list has allowed myself to concentrate on playing matters and I’ve been encouraged by how things are taking shape.

"Our aim is to be in the hunt for promotion from Conference B but only one place is up for grabs and there is likely to be strong competition from Gartcairn, Shettleston and Cambuslang Rangers as well as Port Glasgow and Greenock." 

His cobbled-together St Cadoc's team have produced a mixed bag of results in their restricted pre-season friendly outings with an opening 2-2 draw with Rossvale followed by a 4-0 victory over St Anthonys however last weekend’s 4-2 defeat at the hands of Hurlford United has Millar looking for his playing charges to bounce back tomorrow when heading across city to take on Maryhill.

He insisted: "I’m looking for no more than a steady improvement as we gear everything towards our official opening league fixture against Thorniewood United even though nobody can say for certain when or if that game will ever take place because of strict coronavirus restrictions.

"Clubs have said they do not want to play without fans and I can fully understand their predicament in needing to get monies through the gate and balance the books but if the only alternative is to sit out the full season then I think you will find the vast majority of players would rather forego their contracted wages and play games."

Supporters are not allowed to be in attendance at any of the friendly matches taking place today, the pick of which is Auchinleck Talbot hosting the visit of Premier Division rivals Rossvale, managed by former Talbot striking legend David Gormley.

Friendly fixtures today (various kick-off times) East Kilbride F.C. v Rutherglen Glencairn, Ardeer Thistle v Neilston Amateurs, Auchinleck Talbot v Rossvale ,Larkhall Thistle v Wishaw,Hurlford Utd v Neilston,Carluke Rovers v Petershill,  Cumbernauld Colts v Blantyre Vics, St Rochs v U.B.Utd,Cambuslang Rangers v Bellshill Athletic, Forth Wanderers v Royal Albert, Ashfield v Vale of Clyde, Gartcairn v Rob Roy, Bonnyton Thistle v Kilmarnock X1,Kilsyth Rangers v Cumbernauld Utd, Irvine Vics v Saltcoats Vics, Wishaw v Shotts Bon Accord , Pollok v Shettleston, Troon v Dalry Thistle , Maryhill v St Cadocs, Whitletts Vics v Cumnock., Yoker Athletic v Greenock.